Talk for Peace, Says Mehbooba to New Delhi
SRINAGAR: Citing the thaw in relations between US and Iran after decades of hostility, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti has again urged India and Pakistan to come together for a 'meaningful' dialogue.
Responding to questions on the sidelines of a function in Jammu, the chief minister welcomed the foreign secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan, asserting that J&K will "benefit immensely" if the nuclear-armed neighbours engage in a meaningful dialogue.
“I hope the two neighbours will be able to break ice and engage in a meaningful dialogue so that lasting peace is established in the region,” she said.
India's foreign secretary, S Jaishanker, met his Pakistani counterpart, Aizaz Chaudhary, on the sidelines of 'Heart of Asia' summit in the national capital earlier this week. The summit was also attended by delegates from other Asian countries.
Although the meeting was described by officials of the two countries as "frank" where the two sides "put forward their concerns", the stalemate over the resumption of the 'Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue', which was suspended following the Pathankot terror strike, continues.
Mehbooba said she was happy that despite Pathankot incident, the two countries have carried forward their engagement, which "indicates their commitment to firmly entrench peace" in the region. Describing terrorism as a global phenomenon not confined to a region or nation, Mehbooba said countries all over the world are coming together to fight terror.
“Terrorism is a global concern and is spreading its tentacles far and wide, even into Europe. I think the widening gap between rich and poor and the lack of employment opportunities are fuelling instability which we are witnessing now,” she said.
The thaw in Indo-Pak relations following the Pathankot strike has also been welcomed by the separatist groups in Kashmir. Moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq termed the meeting between Jaishankar and Chaudhary as "welcome step", stressing that dialogue is the only way to resolve Kashmir issue.
"Hurriyat’s stand has always been that dialogue remains the effective way to resolve all issue between the two neighbouring countries including the all-important Kashmir issue," Mirwaiz said in a statement.